Much has been said by both activists and politicians who want to punish the ‘greedy bankers’ and the ‘corrupt Wall Street executives’ who caused the ‘financial meltdown’ and are currently manipulating the markets. They are manipulating the markets in order ensure they are ‘able to rob from the poor and middle class’ in order to ‘deepen the divide between the rich and the poor’. From the actions of the greedy bankers and the corrupt Wall Street executives that led to the economic downturn, the scorn is deserved, and possibly there should be some liability.
However, that is where the activists and politicians stop: bankers and executives. But that stoppage is not appropriate.
The crimes they committed is of wanting someone do something, or make some arrangement.
Making some parallels, we shall see who is the criminal, and who is the victim.
Three other types of exchanges that are criminal: soliciting a prostitute, buying drugs, and arranging an assassination of another (hiring a hitman).
In each of the aforementioned crimes, it is not just the one seeking the service that is deemed guilty of a legal offense; the one doing the act for hire is also guilty. If a prostitute was waiting in a bar for potential clients, and in that bar, found one seeking her services, and the police found out, would they let the prostitute go free? If there is someone selling drugs from his car, and another comes up and buys a bag of his choice drug, and the police catch them in the sale, do the police let the dealer go free? If a spouse wants the insurance money from the new policy placed on the other spouse, hires a hitman to kill that insured spouse, and if the police found out about the conspiracy to commit murder, would the hitman himself go free?
The answer to each is: no.
However, the politicians who are being bought by these greedy bankers and corrupt Wall Street executives, are not only not being arrested, but are remaining in their positions of power – re-elected even with some – to continue to be able to offer their political clout as services to those who have the means of paying.
In the three parallels, only the hitman was actually a violation of individual rights; one seeking drugs or sex is not harming anyone when each party’s actions are consensual. If that one later violated another’s rights, it would be that act that is the criminal act, not the use of drugs or having sex. The hitman kills; the politician using law uses the State and police to restrict the freedom and options of free individuals, and steal their money.
This theft can be direct, with taxes, or indirect with going into debt; either way, it is to fund that which the victim of State theft did not want to fund in the first place, such as the War on Drugs, War on Terror, and countless other government programs.
As the one purchasing drugs or sex harms no one, those criminal acts should not be criminal acts. However, as murder and theft do involve harm to another, they should be criminal acts and punished accordingly.
There is a point to remember with this: without the one who enacts the will of the one buying the sold product, there would not be a criminal act. Without the hitman to commit the murder, the spouse will remain unhappy and spiteful, but those are not crimes. Without the politician, the bankers and executives trying to buy favors will only have wishes that remain unfulfilled. Try as much as the bankers and executives would like, without the State behind them, using the police and other legal means of force, customers would have an option and could go elsewhere (to a competitor); with the politician’s help, the options can be removed (e.g. licensing laws in areas that block competition like Uber or Lyft).
The victims are those in society, for we are the ones who lose liberty, face fines, imprisonment and even death. Resist the fines and arrest enough, even against unjust laws, and face the full force of legal punishment.
Let us stop prosecuting victimless crimes, and focus on the crimes where there are clear victims. Just as having a hitman kill a spouse is conspiracy to commit murder, conspiring and then using force to arrest, detain, fine and kill people is racketeering and murder. It is not any less of a crime when the government does it, though it may be overlooked – by those who would be guilty.
Going after the corrupt bankers and executives is good, but not good enough. To really enact change for society, go after the ones who make it all possible, are the points of interest that can be bought and sold by those who want favors to be done; go after the politicians.